Tom Price racked up 177 people's policies in taxpayer-funded air travel SINCE MAY.

(h/t to Twitter follower @dcodea for the "Brewster's Millions" idea)

According to Tom Price's own Health & Human Services Department, the average unsubsidized premium paid by ACA exchange enrollees this year is around $476 per month, or $5,712 for the full year.

According to the latest investigative report by Politico healthcare reporters Rachana Pradhan and Dan Diamond, HHS Secretary Tom Price has racked up over a million dollars in taxpayer-funded air travel...since May.

The White House approved the use of military aircraft for multi-national trips by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to Africa and Europe this spring, and to Asia in the summer, at a cost of more than $500,000 to taxpayers.

The overseas trips bring the total cost to taxpayers of Price’s travels to more than $1 million since May, according to a POLITICO review.

Price pledged on Thursday to reimburse the government for the cost of his own seat on his domestic trips using private aircraft — reportedly around $52,000 — but that would not include the cost of the military flights.

Price’s wife, Betty, accompanied him on the military flights, while other members of the secretary’s delegation flew commercially to Europe.

...During six terms as a Republican House member from Georgia, Price had cultivated a reputation as a fiscal hawk keen on reining in federal spending.

In June, Price defended a proposed budget for HHS that included a $663,000 cut to the agency’s $4.9 million annual spending on travel, or roughly 15 percent. “The budgeting process is an exercise in reforming our federal programs to make sure they actually work — so they do their job and use tax dollars wisely,” Price testified in front of the Senate Finance Committee on June 8.

Nonetheless, his travel tab has exceeded $1 million when accounting for both the overseas trips and the more than two dozen trips he has taken on private planes domestically since May.

For instance, Price took a Gulfstream C-37B owned by the Department of Defense for a weeklong trip in late May through Africa and Europe. The six legs of travel, which represented about 30 hours of flight time, were projected to cost $311,418.25, according to an invoice reviewed by POLITICO.

That means that, put simply, Tom Price has spent enough taxpayer dollars on air travel in just the past 5 months to pay 100% of the premiums for 177 people enrolled in a standard Silver HMO healthcare policy for a full year.

Just saying.

P.S. Oh, nice find by Emerson Bryant via Twitter...

Reckless spending habits employed by Democrats in Washington are driving the debt. We need #spendingcutsnow

Tom Price (@RepTomPrice) May 31, 2011